COMBAT RECON: My Year With the ARVN by Robert D. Parrish

COMBAT RECON: My Year With the ARVN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A career Army officer's engrossing recollections of his eventful tour of duty as a military advisor to Vietnamese forces during the height of the war in Southeast Asia. When he first went to Vietnam in May 1967, Parrish was a hot-to-trot lieutenant more than a bit disappointed not to have been assigned to a US division. After 12 months under fire with South Vietnamese (ARVN) troops, however, the author returned to the States with a captain's bars, a chestful of medals (including a couple of Purple Hearts), and abiding respect and affection for his sometime comrades in arms, Campaigning in and around the so-called Iron Triangle in the province of Binh Duong, first with an infantry battalion and later with a reinforced reconnaissance company, he became greatly impressed with the prowess of ARVN soldiers. Despite high casualty rates, inadequate rations, antiquated equipment, and a politicized chain of command, they fought bravely and effectively in their almost constant contact with the Viet Cong and NVA (North Vietnamese Army). Parrish punctuates his narrative with vivid accounts of ARVN units on workaday missions in the booby-trapped, VC-infested bush (where their performance on joint operations earned them the grudging respect of American outfits) and during the Tet offensive, which, owing to holiday leaves, caught them even more undermanned than usual. The author also recalls his own recklessness, a female monkey named George that he adopted along the way, friends lost or found, and a wealth of other war stories that evoke the gritty, tragicomic realities of life in a combat zone. A professional's dead-honest, often riveting, memoir of battle in a far country with fondly remembered allies.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's